Uruguay striker Diego Forlan insists his move to Japan’s J-League will not harm his chances of making an impact at the World Cup.
Forlan, voted best player at the 2010 World Cup where he was also joint-top scorer on five goals, joined Cerezo Osaka from Brazil’s Internacional in January for an estimated annual salary of $US5.9 million.
But the 34-year-old believes his performances this summer will not suffer as a result of moving to Asia, and says he is ready to help the 2010 semi-finalists negotiate a tough first-round group that also includes England, Italy and Costa Rica.
“The thing is, you need to play football,” Forlan told AFP after Cerezo’s 2-1 defeat to Kashiwa Reysol in the J-League on Sunday.
“You need to have competition. It doesn’t matter where you play.
“You have to switch. It doesn’t matter how. You have to adjust. It’s been really nice here and we play nice football.
“We will have to see when we (Uruguay) start playing. At the moment it’s a good team with experience and good players, so we need to see how it will be at the beginning of the tournament.”
Forlan has scored once in the J-League and once in the Asian Champions League to help Cerezo make a promising start to the new season.
The former Manchester United forward has been impressed by what he has found in Japan.
“They have good teams and they play good football,” he said. “Every team plays really good football. We are not far away from the other teams but the other teams play really well, so we will have to see which team is going to move away from the others.
“We are going to try to stay close and then you never know at the end of the league. The last five or six games are crucial to winning the title.”
Forlan has joined a talented young Cerezo side tipped to win their first J-League title, with Japan internationals Yoichiro Kakitani and Hotaru Yamaguchi among those benefiting from the Uruguayan’s experience.
“Maybe the language is difficult sometimes to talk to them but they are really nice guys,” said Forlan.
“I can talk to them with my experience about different things if they want to listen. They don’t have to listen if they don’t want to be part of it.